I booked my room 2 weeks after gen con at the westin and that was the first day they opened it up. Last year was unsuccessful in the lottery was at the 6 hour mark. I'll try this year so to get the cheaper price but at least if I don't I have a room
How about some not-so-great deals, but for the closest hotel you can get? I got a notification this morning from Booking.com about some Westin rooms being available. I decided to look directly on the Westin site, and with some juggling of dates (because it initially told me that there was nothing there), I found the following:
That's... ick. Especially since it's non-refundable if you go through the hotel's site. But it's there, and someone with a lot of card points or some other way of reducing the pain may be interested.
The Booking.com listing does allow for refunds if done before July 28, so that's the route I took. But it's a 3rd party, so there's risk of miscommunication and reservation loss. Still, though, decent albeit expensive insurance in the event of a bad housing portal time.
Edit: Clarification - I did the reservation through booking.com, but the notification was from www.openhotelalert.com. Just FYI.
Thanks for that - I was just able to grab the Westin room on points.
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There are always a handful of rooms available if you are willing to pay a ridiculously high price. I just checked the other day when a friend of mine decided to finally commit to going, and there were rooms at the Conrad and the Hilton and the Embassy Suites ... averaging about $500/night, haha.